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Easton community activist Lance Wheeler accused of harassing students

Lance Wheeler
Lance Wheeler when he was running for Easton City Council. He was defeated in the May 16 primary election.

EASTON, Pa. — Easton community activist and former city council candidate Lance Wheeler has been charged with threatening students while driving a Wilson Area School District van in 2022.

According to a criminal complaint, officers from the Wilson Borough Police Department received three Childline LEO referrals in September 2022 for an incident involving three juveniles who claimed Wheeler threatened them while he drove a school van on Aug. 29, 2022.

  • Easton community activist Lance Wheeler has been charged with harassing and threatening three students while he was driving a school van in 2022
  • Wheeler has been charged with seven misdemeanor counts, including simple assault, making terroristic threats, and harassment
  • Wheeler faces a preliminary hearing set for June 21

The affidavit claims Wheeler, 55, of South Ninth Street in Easton, made verbal threats to the three boys, aged 14, 12 and 16. Wheeler threatened to “come after them” or “beat their ass, ” according to district court paperwork. The school vehicle was equipped with audio and video recording equipment.

Wheeler allegedly engaged in a conversation with the three juveniles while driving, which turned into an argument where Wheeler threatened and yelled at the children, using derogatory names for the 12- and 16-year-olds in particular.

At one point, the juveniles claimed Wheeler game them his home address, telling them, and the 16-year-old specifically, to meet him at his home, presumably for a fight, according to police.

The affidavit notes Wheeler commented on the 16-year-old’s hair, claiming it would get ripped off when he got out of the van. The youth told Wheeler that was a threat, to which Wheeler allegedly responded, “I know.”

Students jump out of van

Wheeler also allegedly told the 16-year-old he would be the last one off the bus, and that when he exited the vehicle, “I’ll make you shut up.” After hearing that, the youth fled the bus via the emergency exit in the back near the 2100 block of Northampton Street in Wilson.

Wheeler then engaged the 14-year-old and that teen jumped out the rear emergency door as the van was stopped, police said.

Wheeler allegedly left the two children who left the van behind.

Police claim Wheeler continued to verbally abuse the 12-year-old who remained on the vehicle, saying “I’m going to shut your mouth,” and using racial slurs against him.

Wheeler went on to ask the students who remained on the bus if they knew his nephew, saying he would get him to assault the two children he had left behind.

Once all of the students were off the bus, Wheeler was recorded speaking to his nephew, who he told to attack the 16-year-old, according to the complaint. Wheeler also asked his nephew if he knew the 14-year-old, stating he should attack him as well.

In an interview with investigators, Wheeler’s nephew confirmed the conversation with his uncle. When asked if he received any follow-up calls claiming the previous call was a joke, Wheeler’s nephew told police he did not

Arrest and charges

Wheeler was arrested Wednesday, and will face a preliminary hearing June 21 before District Judge Alan R. Mege. He is free on $25,000 unsecured bail. A message on his phone said he was not accepting calls; he could not be reached for comment.

Wheeler ran unsuccessfully in the Easton City Council primary election on May 16. He leads the West Ward WISE program, a charitable organization that has been collecting donations for victims of Easton's Ferry Street fire on Memorial Day.

Wheeler is charged with two second-degree misdemeanor counts of simple assault, one first-degree misdemeanor count of corruption of minors, two first-degree misdemeanor counts of making terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, and two third-degree misdemeanor counts of harassment.